White Rock is among the municipalities of Metro Vancouver Regional District. It is a seaside community with a population of 19,000. It is located just 45 minutes to the south of Vancouver, it shares a border with Semiahmoo Bay, and Surrey encircles it on three sides. The Semiahmoo First Nation, located in Surrey, can be reached via a footbridge to the southeast.
The huge white glacial irregular boulder that washed up on the beach a thousand years ago near the walkway in White Rock gave the town its name. It’s naturally white weighing 486-ton historically used as a beacon by sailors.
Now, they regularly paint the stone white every month so the city’s name “White Rock” will not become meaningless.
History of White Rock
The Semiahmoo people are the recorded first people to have lived in the area. It was in 1791 that the first Europeans explored the area. And in 1792, the British Royal Navy expedition was the second. In 1846, the Oregon Boundary Treaty was signed. The purpose of this treaty was to formally set the United States-British North American border.
In 1858, The British Royal Engineers teamed up with a similar party from the United States and built a camp called Camp Semiahmoo in what is now known as White Rock. In only two decades, the location became a point for people who wanted to go to the Goldfields and missionaries who wanted to convert the Semiahmoo people.
As early as 1890, people began moving to the area because of its proximity to the ocean and the border between the United States and Canada. Also in 1908 and 1909, several changes were made to transportation routes in the area, which resulted in more people moving to and from the area.
The area was first developed as a resort in 1905. When the White Rock Pier was built in 1914, it quickly became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. And then the government and the locals made a lot of improvement in the area. A hospital was constructed, the city’s outskirts forest was protected, and the highways were improved to make travel easier.
And in 1957, White Rock was incorporated as a city.
Parks and TrailsAbout 32 hectares of parkland can be found in the City of White Rock. The city offers a wide range of activities for the locals and visitors. There are sports fields, wide green spaces, picnic areas and more great places to take in the spectacular views while exercising or just relaxing with the family.
- Barge Park (Malabar Avenue)
- Bayview Park (Marine Drive)
- Bryant Park (Russell Avenue)
- Centennial Park (North Bluff Road
- R.J. Allan Hogg Rotary Park (Buena Vista Avenue)
- Emerson Park (Columbia Avenue)
- Generations Playground (North Bluff Road)
- Gage Park (Columbia Avenue)
- Goggs Park (Goggs Avenue)
- Hodgson Park (North Bluff Road)
- Coldicutt Park (Marine Drive)
- Davey Park (Finlay Street)
- Dog Park (North Bluff Road)
- Lions Lookout Park (Block Marine Drive)
- Maccaud Park (Kent Street)
- Memorial Park (Block Marine Drive)
- Ruth Johnson Park (North Bluff Road)
- Ruth Johnson Trail (North Bluff Road)
- Stager Park (Columbia Avenue)
ShopsThough it is famous for the seaside activities, there’s also a lot of shops you will enjoy exploring.
- Angelic Teapot – offers a wide variety of high-quality organic teas.
- Beaches Swimwear – the city’s top swimwear shop.
- Bella’s Miracle Shop – a unique store selling pieces of jewelry, healing stones, and spiritual home decors.
- Flowers & Company – a flower shop selling home decors as well.
- Grand Bazaar Istanbul – a shop selling handmade Turkish kinds of stuff like clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
- Grey Haven Hobbies and Games – the first gaming and hobby store in the city.
- Looby Doo – an apparel store specializes in baby and toddlers’ needs.
- SeaGods Stand Up Paddleboards – a shop offering paddleboard rental and tutorial.
- Stillman Books – a shop selling second-hand books.
- The Handpicked Home – a shop selling décor and gift items.
- The Mason Jar Home Decor & Gift Shop – a shop selling home decors and jewelry.
- The Shop Next Door – a shop featuring local artists’ crafts.
- Whitby’s Books & Gifts – a store selling books, jewelry and other accessories.
EventsThroughout the year, White Rock hosts a variety of festivals and events.
- Canada Day by the Bay – an event along the beach featuring live entertainment and family-friendly activities.
- Tour de White Rock – A two-day cycling event that’s 130-kilometer physical challenge and toughness in the seaside hills.
- White Rock Sea Festival – A two-day event full of fun. Highlights of the festival include Semiahmoo Days, parades, live music, fireworks display and family-friendly activities.
- Bright Walk in White Rock – A winter light display that features a 20-foot Christmas tree, a twinkling light tunnel, a snowman family photo op and the waterfront illumination.
Other Interesting PlacesDespite its relatively small size, it oozes charm and has something to offer to everyone.
- The Beach – a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. In just a few minutes, you can make your way to East Beach, where you’ll find a more relaxed vibe and plenty of families out enjoying the beach and low-tide walks with picnics.
- Blue Frog Studios – A concert series and Canada’s most popular live broadcast/recording theatre. 4800 sq. of performance space hosts some of the world’s most accomplished performers. The studio has world-class sound and the most up-to-date video and audio recording equipment.
- The White Rock – a “white rock” along West Beach that bears the name of the community and is a popular photo location. In order to keep the rock’s white colour, staff from the City of White Rock assist in maintaining it. When it comes to stature, it’s a whopping 4 meters tall and weighs an estimated 486 tons.
- The Pier – a historic pier that was built as a port for the Great Northern Railway’s sailing ships in 1914. It has become a well-known landmark. It is popular for visitors for its locals’ daily fish catch and stunning views of the Islands and coastal mountains.
- The Promenade – It is known as one of the best attractions adding it to the must-do of any visitor. It is 7,200 feet long, which is about the entire distance of the beach, making it easy to reach the water and nearby attractions.
- White Rock Farmer’s Market – A trip to the local farmers’ market is a must. The festival will also feature live music, children’s activities, and artisan displays in addition to the plentiful locally grown and made foodstuffs.
- White Rock Museum – An interesting museum that is modest in size but rich in content. It is devoted to the history of the area and its connection to the railroad. It showcases artifacts and photo collections of White Rock’s history.
- Art Couture Gallery – located at Marine Drive.
- Landmark Pop-UpTown Gallery – located at North Bluff Road.
- White Rock Gallery – located at Johnston Road.
Attractions in White Rock make it a popular choice for visitors. A pier, beaches, and upscale restaurants and cafes line the shores of the town. White Rock can be visited at any time of year, but summer and warm days are often the most favourite season to visit because it is a seaside resort.